As people exit the Cays these days they will see a permanent sunset with the silhouette of a man photographing the sun setting on the Pacific Ocean. The remarkable photo features the late Brian Lippe, Cays resident and unofficial visual record keeper of this area’s striking nature, flora, and fauna. The photo was taken by another dedicated Cays resident, Daron Case, and it wraps the Caltrans signal box located on the southwest corner of the intersection of State Route 75 and the Coronado Cays main entrance. “I had heard a while ago some discussion about a utility box wrapping project… however, I did not know what photos would be selected nor when or whether it would ever be implemented,” said Case when asked about the recently completed plan. “It was a shock and emotional experience to do my morning beach check (where I check the waves, etc.) and see the photo I had taken of Brian taking a sunset photo at Silver Strand being installed at the entrance to the Cays… I cried… but in a very good way… feelings of warmth and love,” said Case.
This special image covers one of six signal boxes along SR75 that were recently wrapped with photos completing Phase 2 of Art Outside the Box,a project of Caltrans, the Cultural Arts Commission’s Public Art Program Area, and the Silver Strand Beautification committee.
“The Art Outside the Box project created such good synergy – people coming together and working on designs and learning more about the value of public art – our community is blessed to have so many creatives in our midst!” said Kelly Purvis, Senior Management Analyst, Arts and Culture, with the City of Coronado.
The project came to fruition with help from several organizations and committed volunteers. Robin Hagemann and Liza Butler, also a member of the Silver Strand Beautification Project organization, volunteered as members of the Commission’s Public Art Program Area chaired by Jeff Tyler of the Cultural Arts Commission. “Both of our teams, Silver Strand Beautification Project and the Public Art Program Area, really came together on this project and we are hoping to work together on more,” said Hagemann.
Jody Esquer, a Public Art Program Area member, took photos and was tasked with pulling the photos together for the project, many of which were taken by Brian Lippe. “The process of choosing what photos to use from Brian Lippe’s extensive archives was truly a group effort,” said Esquer. “For example, Liza Butler put so much thought into the overall cohesive theme, making sure only native flora and wildlife on the Silver Strand was used. I learned so much through working with this group. Always a huge plus with any project!” Esquer added.
“Prior to his death, we received permission to use Brian Lippe’s catalog of images for the project and so photos were selected from his collection by the program area based on box site and surroundings,” said Purvis. “Pam Murphy (Brian’s wife) also approved of their usage,” Purvis added.
Art Outside the Box is one part of the City Public Art Master plan that was adopted by the City Council in 2013. Phase 1 was completed in 2018, and included eight boxes located from 3rd Street to Avenida Las Arenas on Orange Avenue. Those boxes feature art painted by local CMS students as part of a class taught by Kirstin Green and supported by a class offered by the Coronado Unified School District.
Phase 2 includes the boxes located from the Naval Amphibious Base to the Cays entrance. This phase required reviews and approvals from the Public Art Program, the Cultural Arts Commission, members of the Silver Strand Beautification Project, Caltrans as well as the City Council.
Colleen Cavallieri, Cays resident and owner of Green Flash Photography and vomFASS Wines and Vinegar in Hillcrest, had this to say about the project; “I think the Silver Strand utility wraps are great. The photos really reflect our lives in the area and what makes living along Silver Strand and in the Cays unique. They match the natural landscape and wildlife of the area so well. I especially love the tribute to Brian Lippe near the entrance to Silver Strand State Beach. His photos are so inspiring and beautiful.”
Many residents and visitors are familiar with the welcoming waves from the guard inside the kiosk at the entrance to the Cays. Thanks to the volunteers and organizations charged with the signal box project, as they leave the seaside neighborhood people can also look forward to the enduring send off from Brian Lippe, the man who was devoted to preserving the beautiful views and nature that surround the Coronado Cays.